Nov 25 - Happy Thanksgiving!
Most bypass patients will agree the greatest pain isn't the huge "zipper" incision at the center of the chest. It isn't the odd and almost constant twinges of the sternum bone knittiing back together - it is the undeniable discomfort created by the really large wounds on the leg used for the donor veins. The first clue is that the leg swells to the size of a good sized stove pipe. Slippers don't fit, forget trying shoes, and a hospital slipper/sock even hurts for a week or so. My good news is that I can now wear my boots and walk around without first screaming in pain. Damn,, that sure is a reassuring recovery milestone.
I was able to visit my wife in the nursing home for a few minujtes yesterday, the first oportuunity we had see each other in almost five weeks. Her rehabilitation from another round of paralytic malady is progressing and I hope she will be home for her birthday in another ten days. This whole thing has been as much a burden upon her as it has been for me. I get mean after anything more than two weeks in hospital and she has just passed two months.
Continuing thanks to the shipmates that have beening calling and sending messages of encouragement. "Shipmates Once - Friends Forever" really does describe those I sailed with 50 years ago. Every call reminds me that I could be ploughing through cold North Atlantic gales for the next few weeks rather than sitting at home in a warm living rooom, watching 60 year old re-runs of badly acted westerns. Hell, at times I think it could be nice to endure another day of boot camp - at least I could run without much pain !
If you travel this week, be careful. If you are staying home - enjoy the experience. Remember, there were many holidays at sea or when on shore duty watches that haviing an opportunity to have a meal with family would have been the greatest treat possible. We are VETERANS. We did it, came home with the t--shirt, mug and hat. Ninty-nine percent of Americans have no clue what that took - and we just stand back and smile with the knowledge that we fulfilled our constitutional duties with devotion and alacrity. As our numbers dwindle I am always proud to say I sailed with some very capable men and would do it agaiin if asked.
Nov 9 - Happy Veterans Day! Returned home Thursday after 18 days out for surgery. All went reasonably well. Have several weeks to go before I am fully mobile again, but at least I am alive. Surgeons estimated I may have had between two and eight days before the blocakges would have developed into a fatal heart attack.
Thanks to the shipmates that called or sent messages before and after surgery. Your support was really helpful and appreciated. I still do not have the stamina requuired to sit here hours at a time updaiting the site with reunion photos, but I promise that I will begin posting as soon as I am able.
Oct 23 - I am currently at VAMC Durham, NC, and will undergo triple bypass surgery this afternoon. If I get through the procedure I expect to be in-patient 10 to 12 days. if I don't survive use the experience to justify your attendance at the next reunion. None of has a guarantee on life...I am happy to have known all of you.
10/25 - Someone else's emergency bumped my surgery. Now on schedule for Monday or Tuesday. Surgeon spent 15 minutes with me yesterday afternoon. He explained the procedure and long term consequences. The grafts last between eight and twelve years. That is a much longer time than I had been facing against cancer.
Oncology said Tuesday that I am still in remission and that if I am still in remission for next six months that Inwould be considered a survivior of pancreatic cancer and statistically at no greater risk than anyone else.
That's all good news...and allows enough time to finish Ride Around America project and a book or two. So, Shipmates, if your civic club or veteran's group would like to book me as a speaker, send me a message. Will be available for speaking dates beginning in February.
Next update probably next Friday after surgery.